A new band connected to B.C.’s music royalty will be one of the headliners at a three-day music festival in Sooke over the long weekend.
The Sooke Music and Arts Festival will fill John Phillips Memorial Park with a full stage, lights and sound to support more than 25 bands, with A Family Curse headlining Saturday (Sept. 3), followed by country and folk singer Leeroy Stagger on Sunday (Sept. 4).
The festival kicks off on Friday (Sept. 2) evening with a pre-party at the Royal Canadian Legion.
The entire weekend is free to attend, thanks to grants from the federal, provincial and municipal governments and corporate donations.
“We started this out as a free event in 2016, and it’s worked out for the last seven years,” said organizer Peter Jonassen.
“I like to keep it free because it gives the festival a community feel. I think when groups start charging, it changes the parameter.”
A Family Curse is a family band created by 54•40 singer and songwriter Neil Osborne and his daughter Kandle (affectionally known as Bluesman Niz and Baby Kiz). Often supported by various cousins, uncles and aunts of the Osborne clan.
Kandle describes the duo’s sound as “diving into a fantasy world of Americana and fuzz-driven blues rock,” with the added imagery of a father-daughter duo taking listeners “on a journey from robbing banks to getting stranded in the desert and catching fire.”
Osborne co-founded 54•40 in 1980 with bassist Brad Merritt, and the alt-rock band continues to record and tour.
Osborne’s A Family Curse collaboration with Kandle began a few years ago when Neil and fellow songwriter Danny Michel recorded music with melodies and lyrics from Kandle. The songs idled for a time before Osborne rediscovered them, and Kandle went to work on additional lyrics.
The band released its debut album on July 27.
There is limited parking by donation at John Phillips Memorial Park on Saturday and Sunday. Festival-goers are encouraged to find alternate modes of transportation to the event site.
Friday’s lineup at the Sooke Legion includes Tremblers of Seven, Hush Hush Noise, Crow (Sooke) and Electric Druids. Other bands participating over the weekend include A Family Curse, Leeroy Stagger, Sarah Osborne, Vox Rea, Brandon Isaak, Carolyn Mark, Basin Boys (East Sooke), Gord Phillips (Sooke), Elise Boulanger, Ed Fury (Sooke), Bob Menzies, Faultline (Sooke), Kat Kadoski (Sooke), Woodland Ritual (Sooke), Supreme Remedy, The Hot Noise, Naked by the Fire, Benty Bros, TYPOH and Chainsaw Chaps.
“We’ve been able to draw in some really good talent, even with my limited budget,” said Jonassen, adding the majority of the bands are from the Island.
“There’s so much talent on the Island. It’s kind of ridiculous to bring in talent from somewhere else.”